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  • Abraham Aguilera

Cellulite - A Womans Worst Enemy

Cellulite can be very frustrating. You read about it everywhere. From beauty magazines to fitness "gurus" on social media, they all put their 2 cents on this subject, often contradicting themselves. They talk about all sorts of causes, treatments and stuff, but their advice just doesn’t seem to work quite well as it looks on paper.

This article has nothing to do with what you have read about cellulite in the past, and yet, it has everything to do with it.

First things first, let's define what cellulite is, and what it is not.

Cellulite is not a disease, but a connective tissue disorder (Pugliese, 2014). Even though it is still an obscure area in terms of research, most recent consensus is that it is not directly related to body fat, but to hormones.

Please note this: cellulite is not caused by "toxins" in "unclean foods", chemicals, sodium, water retention (Querleaux et al., 2002), poor circulation, poor hydration nor your occasional donut or diet coke. It is caused solely by hormones. Female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone to be more specific. That's why you don't see a lot of men with cellulite (Müller, 1978), even when their body fat % is relatively high. That's also why you might see skinny women with severe cellulite.

Now, as Dr. Pugliese explains, there are two layers of fat in the body, the superficial and the deep one. These two are separated by the fascia, which is connective tissue. "The fat in both layers resides in compartments, much as you would see eggs in an egg crate" Dr. Pugliese says.

So that classic orange peel texture on the skin forms when estrogen destroys the collagen in the tissue that separate these little compartments, causing the fat "eggs" to arise and grow without much restrain.

By now, we know what causes it, but what can we do about it?

Well, first let's discuss what NOT to do.

Please, please do not try electromagnetic treatments, vacumming, carboxy therapy (this is one of the worse), wraps, deep tissue massage or liposuction. Again, this cannot possibly be stressed enough. Just don't.

The reason? Well, for what you've learnt so far, you can infer that any and all of these will only cause more damage to your connective tissue, providing a momentary solution (because all the fat will climb up to the surface of the skin, evening out its appearence) only to further worsen it in the future (once the fat cells begin to grow and multiply without ANY connective tissue to withhold them).

Topical treatments may be promising somehow, but not effective yet. Supplementing collagen or using collagen creams is ineffective too.

The best way to address it? Diet and heavy resistance training. So simple it may sound crazy or impossible, but it's not. Even though there isn't much evidence on this, anecdotal and observational experience (as noted in many of my own female clients) supports this notion, as well as a little science too.

Dieting reduces overall bodyfat, so eventually you will hit those fat cells of cellulite and reduce them. It takes patience though, since these fat cells have less alpha and beta receptors and are far harder to mobilize.

And as for heavy resistance training, it will increase testosterone, so theoretically that may help counteract the over production of estrogen, thus reducing further damage to connective tissue.

Additional measures can be taken, supporting pantyhoses or compression pants, supplementing with Centella Asiatica (because of asiatic acid) and increasing intake of foods with high antioxidant content (such as green tea) can be beneficial too (Pugliese, 2014).

So even though one may never be able to eliminate cellulite completely, we can manage it and, with enough hard work, dramatically reduce it's appearance for good.

By: Abraham Aguilera

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